Surprise, I'm here!
There aren’t many people you can call at 2am when you arrive in town unannounced.
There was only one aunt I could phone without alarming her at that hour of the morning – but she wasn’t listed in the phone directory. Neither was her married son who lived upstairs.
As I had spent a year in Greece in 1988 I knew where all my relatives lived, and felt it wasn’t necessary to bring any phone numbers with me on this second visit in 1994.
I had planned on arriving at my aunt’s house and knocking on the door. Surprise, I’m here!
Of course, the element of surprise was based on my somewhat miscalculated plan that I’d arrive in town during daylight hours.
I’m not quite sure how I worked that out when I bought my bus ticket for a 5pm departure from Sofia, Bulgaria.
I was exhausted from five weeks of backpacking and just wanted to arrive in the loving arms of my Greek aunts who would feed me home-cooked meals and provide me with a clean, comfortable bed.
I had refused the other travel option of a 7am train departure on the grounds that the afternoon schedule would give me enough time to get to the depot and find the right bus.
Stop, revive, survive
Due to summer daylight savings, the sun was still up when we arrived at the Bulgarian-Greek border a few hours later.
We arrived in Thessaloniki around 11pm, which was still relatively early by Greek standards.
I contemplated hopping off the bus as I had a cousin living there. This was risky, as my cousin was a nurse and worked shifts, so with no telephone directory to be found, I decided to get back on the bus.
The city of Larisa was another 150km down the highway. I could still make it there at a respectable time.
Half an hour out of town, the bus driver pulled into a roadside diner for an hour’s meal break. Stop, revive, survive, and all that.
I’ll be there in five minutes
It was 2am when the bus dropped me off in front of the deserted train station in Larisa. A solitary taxi driver appeared and waited patiently while I searched through the phone directory at a nearby kiosk.
My aunt and her son were not listed in the phone book.
With so many relatives here, I didn’t consider the possibility of a hotel room, despite the late hour. That would have offended them all.
I tried to remember my cousin’s married name, as she also lived upstairs at my aunt’s house. My search was hampered by the Greek alphabet, which didn’t always follow the same letter order as English.
“Hello! It's Hari... from Australia. I’m at the train station... No, it’s okay there’s a taxi here. I’ll be there in five minutes.”
My cousin’s husband and her unlisted brother from next door were fortunately up watching the World Cup soccer on TV. (I later learnt that my aunt and uncle had left a few days earlier for their holiday house by the beach).
As I arrived at the house, I found my three pyjama-clad relatives standing bewildered on the pavement.
3/5/2011 12:38:32 pm
Lovely start, Hari. You have a great storytelling voice - I enjoyed this and look forward to more...
3/5/2011 01:41:22 pm
3/5/2011 08:03:31 pm
Congratulations Hari,eagerly awaiting next weeks post.You amaze me you can do so much.
4/5/2011 04:44:23 am
So haapy you are a real blogger now Hari with your very own blog. I know you're going to love having a place to showcase all your wonderful writing:)
4/5/2011 04:44:53 am
Thanks for joining me on my new blogsite, Coral.
4/5/2011 04:47:05 am
Annabel - I just needed someone to give me a nudge..!!
4/5/2011 07:00:51 am
Hari, well done I am looking forward to the next installment. Easy to read and nice layout. I'm geting old though, any chance you can make the font larger? from your little grasshopper x
4/5/2011 10:26:35 am
Good for you, Hari. Easy to read - you had me right at the start.
4/5/2011 12:16:25 pm
Sandra - I've bumped the font size up to the next level just for you!
4/5/2011 05:10:30 pm
HI Hari! enjoyed your post! I miss blogging, but my life in Arcata is not interesting enough to detail. the challenge and joys of writing are wonderful. you have a great style..I look forward to more posts!
5/5/2011 09:28:51 am
Hi Stephanie, yes, I agree about the joys of writing - the challenges just help to improve how we write!
5/5/2011 06:32:50 pm
Good for you Hari. Καλή αρχή!! as they say in Greece. Can't wait to read more!!
7/5/2011 11:11:24 am
Great start, Hari. I love a serial.
7/5/2011 11:28:33 am
Angie - thanks for joining me online!
9/5/2011 04:11:59 am
Very interesting, I've never really known what a blog site was all about but am about to learn. Look forward to some interesting stories from you Hari.
31/5/2011 03:21:08 pm
Hari, you have a wonderful voice. I wonder if that voice would translate well to the audio environment?
1/6/2011 07:49:16 am
Thanks for the tip, Dave. I'm sure that's something I can look into down the track!
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New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2006
United Kingdom 2004
Athens Olympics 2004
Beijing to Athens 1994
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS
I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.